Wednesday, 20 March 2019
NORMALLY, I laugh in the face of fashion. And, as countless long-suffering friends and family have duly noted, fashion always laughs hysterically right back at me.
I suppose I’ve never paid much attention to what ludicrously tall, thin models are wearing while they walk down a runway or look grumpily into a camera because they don’t look anything like me.
But I have an important meeting in London next week and I can’t possibly turn up in my muddy trainers, ancient leggings and a bleach-spattered oversized fleece, can I?
And now that Cookie has completely destroyed all my White Company clothes and my hips have become so shelf-like that they’re worthy of the IKEA catalogue, I literally haven’t got anything decent to wear.
Could be time to hit the high street in search of some sartorial smartening up, seeing as the kids are going to their dad’s for the weekend...
“Try to be a bit more on-trend, Mum. And get some statement pieces. I’ll judge when I get back,” the Eleventeen-Year-Old yells after me as she slams her dad’s car door and speeds off.
As I’m walking through the Oracle, doing my best not to even look at those giant pretzels, I see loads of young women wearing impossibly high-waisted, tight skinny jeans and bomber jackets over tiny crop tops. Their hair is long, in high pony tails and their make-up is immaculate. Their complexions, albeit smothered in foundation, are flawless, their thick liquid eye liner painted on expertly — ditto their fake lashes. And those eyebrows... Noel Gallagher would be proud.
On my way to M&S, I stop to browse in Hobbs and my eye is caught by a tan, suede mini-skirt, similar to the kind I used to wear when I was young, slim and hadn’t yet acquired the kind of tummy that’s inevitable after two kids and a 20-a-day Twix habit.
Luckily, the prices are prohibitive, so I shoot out of there, sparing myself the indignity of my daughter’s accusations of mutton dressed as lamb and my son’s probable pleas for sausages for dinner, reminded of his favourite food after one look at my legs.
Once in Marks & Sparks, I feel more at home and suddenly remember reading on Mumsnet that M&S super-skinny jeggings are the tubby mum’s saviour.
And so, in a fit of unprecedented optimism, I grab a few pairs and picture myself transformed by their stretchy, forgiving fabric into some kind of cool rock chick.
Mooching over to the leather jackets, I spy a brown, houndstooth hacking jacket, complete with clever-looking suede elbow patches and wonder whether this is what my girl means by a statement piece. I dismiss the leather (wisely) and pick up one of the brown jackets, heading for the changing rooms.
The jeggings go on surprisingly easily and I look slimmer already. They’re so tight, they hold your tummy and squeeze your hips in at the same time and their high-waistedness covers a multitude of sins.
Buoyed by this, I put on the hacking jacket and turn around to face the mirror. GASP! If this is a tatement piece, what exactly is it saying? That I should never darken Krispy Kreme’s door again? That I should maybe try a size 28? The kaftan department’s that-a-way?
I may be channelling my inner Kate Moss but my outer Miss Trunchbull is staring fiercely back at me, so I whip off the jacket and swap it for a soft, long cardigan.
On Sunday night, I put on the jeggings, my black small-heeled pixie boots, a plain black T-shirt and the long cardi. I even put on some red lipstick, liquid eye liner and fluff up my unruly, curly hair. I then present myself to my daughter, holding my breath as I wait for her response.
She looks up from her phone and sets her mouth into a perfect “O”.
“What?” I snap, my spirits already deflated.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve got the receipts,” I sigh. “But what am I going to wear?”
“That! You must wear that!” she splutters.
“Oh, stop with the sarkiness! Really. It’s just getting old, now.”
I expect her to say “just like you” but instead she says: “Seriously! You actually look… nice.”
“Really?” I’m gobsmacked.
“Just save the clown wig and make-up for Halloween.”
Kids, eh? Who’d have ’em?
But that’s another story…
09 October 2017
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